The basic requirements are an undergraduate bachelor’s degree from a four-year accredited university, in any major, and an acceptable LSAT score. Depending on the law school, there may be additional specific requirements, such as submission of letters of recommendation, a personal statement and compliance with the school’s character and fitness requirements.
The application process may be different for international applicants, depending on the law school. International students and applicants are advised to complete thorough research with the individual law schools they are interested in to determine what each school’s specific admission requirements are.
We recommend students take the LSAT during their junior year; however, scores from tests taken during senior year are also accepted. If a student is interested in being admitted to an accelerated program, they should consult the school’s admission requirements that pertain to that program. In some cases, accelerated programs require the admissions process to be bumped up a semester or two earlier than normal. In that case, a student may want to take the LSAT a little earlier than their senior year.
This will depend on whether a student desires to be admitted to an accelerated program, immediately after graduating or following a gap year or two. For an accelerated program, a student should contact the school directly as they might need to apply earlier than senior year. Students who intend to start law school immediately after graduation can apply in their senior year, but they will want to keep in mind the specific deadlines for each of the schools in which they are interested. Students who want to take some gap time off following graduation will also want to keep in mind the deadlines for each of the schools they are interested in and be sure to submit their applications before that date.
Here’s a general rule to follow: the earlier the better. It is usually not a good idea to wait until the deadline or close to the deadline to submit an application. By that time, most schools have made their final decisions, disbursed their available scholarships, and are in the thick of making final preparations for the entering class.
The CAS report is prepared on your behalf by the Law School Admissions Council – the same company that administers the LSAT (Law School Admissions Test). Nearly all American Bar Association-accredited law schools use this service, which helps the schools manage the volume of information they receive each year from applicants.
A CAS report contains statistical information about an applicant’s performance in undergraduate school and on the LSAT, copies of all transcripts, copies of reference letters written on behalf of the applicant, and a copy of the applicant’s LSAT writing sample. The CAS report is also the official way an applicant’s LSAT score is reported to a law school. Keep in mind it is important to have all the transcripts included in the CAS to provide a complete overview of the applicant’s educational progress.
CAS reports are sent to every law school to which a person applies, as long as they have made proper arrangements for that to happen. Once an applicant has applied to a law school, that school may then request the CAS report to be sent. If the CAS report is ready (i.e., all post-secondary transcripts received, all reference letters received, LSAT taken and score readily available in the report and all necessary fees paid) it will be released to the law schools specified by the applicant.
It is important to prepare your students for the financial cost of going through the law school admissions process. It can get quite costly, which is why it is important for students to ensure they are properly submitting their applications and adequately preparing for the LSAT so that they do not have to repeat any part of the applications process.
There is help, however! Some law schools are willing to offer waivers for their application and may even offer CAS waivers. Encourage your students to ask the law schools they are interested in if they offer application fee waivers. Also, if a student is experiencing a financial hardship, LSAC may be willing to offer them a fee waiver for the LSAT and even for the CAS.
The LSAT writing sample is an opportunity for your students to demonstrate to law schools their ability to produce reasonably well-thought-out writing under timed conditions. Law schools typically use writing samples to measure applicants’ ability to think and write analytically. It is important for your students to give this section of the exam the appropriate time and attention it needs, as it may be used to distinguish applicants in a large applicant pool.
The purpose of an addendum is to address concerns within an applicant’s file that might make the admissions committee question the applicant’s veracity, character, or overall candidacy for admission to their school. The addendum can be used to address things such a discrepancy in information, an academic or disciplinary action noted on the transcript, lower than desirable grades or a lower than desired LSAT score. The addendum should be used to address any affirmative responses to the character and fitness inquiries, such as prior arrests and criminal charges, or ongoing legal cases in which a student may be involved, and dismissals (whether from the military or employment).
Here is a list of things that can cause a delay in the application process. Encourage your students to ensure that they have not left these items incomplete or out of their application.
Missing CAS report. The CAS report is an essential part of an applicant’s file. Applicants must ensure that the CAS report is submitted at the same time as (or shortly after) their application. The most common reason for a missing CAS report is that the applicant has not designated a certain school to receive the report. The other common reason is that the applicant has unpaid fees associated with the CAS.
Missing transcripts. Law schools will often ask to see all academic transcripts of an applicant from after the completion of their high school education. An applicant should be sure the CAS report includes all of the transcripts from their college and graduate studies, including any from study abroad programs.
Missing LSAT writing sample. LSAT gives applicants plenty of time to complete the LSAT writing sample, but it is important for students to consider how prolonging the completion of the writing sample may keep admissions committees from being able to make a timely decision on the file.
Missing letters of recommendation. Most schools request letters of recommendation to understand how others see applicants. When a letter of recommendation is missing, an admissions committee is unable to make the proper judgement call on the applicant’s academic and professional character. It is important to ensure these are also included in the CAS report.
Upcoming LSAT score. The LSAT score is crucial to the admissions process. Without it, an admissions committee is unable to make the appropriate decision about an applicant. Some schools may allow an applicant to submit his/her application without an accompanying LSAT score, but the school will not review the file until a score has been reported. Some schools may even be willing to hold the file for review until the LSAT score is reported. It is imperative for applicants to ensure that their LSAT scores are reported to the schools in which they are interested soon after they have submitted their applications. Typically, the LSAT score will be reported with a completed CAS report; however, in cases where an applicant has retaken the LSAT and notified the schools of this, the applicant should ensure his/her LSAT score is reported to those schools.
Missing character and fitness addendum. If an applicant does check “yes” for one or more of the character and fitness questions, he/she will need to complete an addendum addressing the issues and providing details of what led up to the infractions, sanctions, charges or convictions. The applicant will also want to include the disposition of such situations. If at all possible, it is usually in the applicant’s best interest to include the court documents or disciplinary documents for those situations.
Inconsistent information between a CAS report and an application. Discrepancies between a CAS report and an application will cause admissions committees to pause and wonder which of the information presented is correct and why there are differences. Be sure to have your students address discrepancies they are aware of in the addendum.
Not responding promptly to the admission committee’s inquiries. Sometimes a law school’s admissions office may reach out to an applicant to inquire about documents missing from the CAS report or the application. Applicants sometimes do not answer. This holds up the process because the admissions committee is unable to make a decision without the necessary information. This can eventually lead to an applicant’s file being indefinitely incomplete.
You and your students might also want to browse TU Law’s FAQ section to find answers to a wide array of additional questions about applying to TU Law as well as, more generally, law school application and admission requirements. If you can’t find the answer you are seeking, please contact the TU Law Office of Admission directly.
Note: Specific requirements may vary depending on the law school to which a student applies.
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